Environmental toxicology and pharmacology

Combusted but not smokeless tobacco products cause DNA damage in oral cavity cells.

PMID 24780532


The aim of this work was to investigate genomic DNA damage in human oral cavity cells after exposure to different tobacco product preparations (TPPs). The oral carcinoma cell line 101A, gingival epithelial cells HGEC, and gingival fibroblasts HGF were exposed to TPM (total particulate matter from 3R4F cigarettes), ST/CAS (2S3 smokeless tobacco extract in complete artificial saliva), and NIC (nicotine). Treatments were for 24 h using TPM at its EC-50 doses, ST/CAS and NIC at doses with equi-nicotine units, and high doses for ST/CAS and NIC. Comet assays showed that TPM, but not ST/CAS or NIC, caused substantial DNA breaks in cells; only the high ST/CAS dose caused weak DNA damage. These results were confirmed by immunofluorescence for γ-H2AX protein. These data revealed that the combusted TPP caused substantial DNA damage in all cell types, whereas the two non-combusted TPPs exerted no or only minimal DNA damage. They support epidemiologic evidence on the relative risk associated with consumption of non-combusted versus combusted tobacco products, and help to understand potential genotoxic effects of such products on oral cavity cells.